4. Positioning the Feathers
Carefully lay out the feathers, as shown in Figures 3 & 4A-B. Begin with the two outside feathers first; with two more on top of these until you wind up with the center feather in place. Make any adjustments that are necessary to achieve the desired shape and then hold all the feathers in position by pressing gently down on them. Trace around the outside of the base of the quills. Use this as a guide to draw the shape of your handle, leaving it approximately 1/8″ wider than the feathers on either side. A typical shape is shown inFigure 5, but this will vary with individual differences in the way the feather quills lay. Overall length can be 5″ to 6″ long, depending on personal taste and the size of your hand.
5. Making the Handle
Any soft wood can be used fo a handle, but white pine or cedar is recommended, as it is readily available and easy to carve. Cut the handle to its rough shape with a coping saw and finish with a carving knife & wood rasp. Many different shapes can be made, but I hae found that th gentle taper as shown in Figure 5 is easiest to bead and is also an attractive shape. Sand carefully to achieve a smooth, even surface, as any irregularities will be visible even under the beadwork.